20 August 2013

Summertime, and the living is crazy...

The waning days of summer have arrived, just in time for the heat to return.  Uck.  Also, iPastor is having some terrible neck pain, so if you're of the praying sort, put in a good word for him. He had a tough day yesterday, and couldn't get settled in well at bedtime.  Subsequently, I slept fitfully, if at all, and finally got up and switched to the daybed in the library about 2:15.  We have some trees that need trimming, apparently, because the branches squeaking on the windows infiltrated my dreams, making them...weird, to say the least. I was fretful, knowing iPastor had a 10am PT appointment, and I didn't want to oversleep if he was too sore to drive.  I didn't have to worry overmuch, because by 5 am I was awakened by spatting cats, and iPastor stumbled back down at 5:30.  I shambled about in a sleep-deprived daze most of the morning, and we ran some errands. When we got home, I made sure the kids weren't starving to death and planned a late lunch.  I wandered up for a brief nap about 12:15, and once again didn't have to worry about oversleeping, because one of the Things decided they waited long enough for lunch and woke me with a text at 12:45.  After that was said and done, I puttered around a bit, took another stab at a nap and failed, which just meant I was still tired and crabby, plus I didn't accomplish much anything of use, either.  Wonderful.  I trudged down to make smoothies, and dropped my slacks down the laundry chute on the way by, as I noticed a spot on them.  If a gal can't run a blender in her underwear in her own kitchen, what's this world coming to, after all?  I pulverized fruit and yogurt with the noise of a thousand chainsaws, according to Thing 4.  I headed back to find new pants and go fetch my veggie share.  I walked out of the kitchen to find every. kid. in. the. stinking. neighborhood. in. my. foyer.  I don't know if the old lady underwear or slamming door shocked them most.  So far, the rest of the evening has been uneventful, and I have to believe it can only get better from there.  It was almost enough to make me look forward to going back to school. Almost.


I went to a conference in Washington, DC, last month.  I absolutely loved it.  It was a good conference; a nice blend of USEFUL information and camaraderie, with enough free time woven in to check out some sights and spend a little time with a BFF.  One of the highlights for me, however, was just being in the city.  Not even a particularly big one, compared to Boston or New York with skyscrapers, but a busy, humming, diverse place with functional public transit (God bless it!) and choices.  So many choices!  In the two blocks around my hotel I could choose from a dozen different ethnic foods and a variety of shops (the Baskin Robbins store smelled really funky, though, so we opted for the frozen margaritas next door.)  I love cities.  I don't know if I'm cut out to live there full time, but I find a visit rejuvenating.  I love the diversity.
In the boondocks we have limited choices, and the closest regional shopping towns are 45 miles east and south, respectively. Yesterday,  I was forced to make the trek for a routine, work-related lab test that couldn't possibly have been done locally.  As I drove home, though, I caught myself noticing, then made a concentrated effort to notice, the scenery around me.  I often hear folks complain of rural scenery: one field after another, with only a road every mile to break it up.  That's not what I saw, though.  I saw fields of corn, soybeans, alfalfa, sugar beets, hay, oats, stubble and freshly turned earth, all different textures, colors and heights.  I saw the ditches filled with cattails, brown-eyed Susan, thistles, broadleaves and grasses too numerous to keep track of.  Red sumac, silver maple, weeping birch, evergreens and other trees filled windbreaks and groves with a cacophony of color.  Tidy little farmhouses with well-tended gardens and yard art alternated with sprawling, ramshackle farms with bikes, trampolines, pools, lazing dogs, and machinery scattered about.  Here and there a burned or abandoned farm haunted the landscape, with its own particular beauty painted in charcoal colors.  We do, indeed, have diversity in the countryside, it's just of a different sort.  Though perhaps this brand of diversity is not as impactful on lifestyle, its essential to living.

06 August 2013


Around here, you may frequently hear my husband or I refer to a task or an outing as "going fishing."  One may quizzically ask what we mean, only to receive a rambling reply along the lines of, "well, we read this book once (well, actually we listened to it on tape) where the author, it was Lewis Grizzard or Robert Fulghum or someone like that, talks about going fishing but first he has all these chores to do and it ends up being more work than its worth, and it was really funny, you should read it..." By the time we eventually trail off, the poor questioner is sorry he asked and the whole ordeal reeks of "guess you had to be there."  Twenty years ago, I worked at a piecework factory that had a library of books on tape to listen to at work, so I wasn't able to remember the author.  I tried occasional google searches, but to no avail.  Tonight I read an article about a photographer named McManus, and a little switch in my brain slammed shut, and the connection was made.  A quick google later,  and I am happy to share with you this link to "Sequences," by Patrick McManus.
Ok, so you have to copy/paste the link into your browser navbar, go to the page, then scroll down and click the hyperlink to "Sequences," but its totally worth it.
I promise.
I guess you had to be there...


20 July 2013

Eating healthy is destructive

I may have killed my blender this morning.  

I don't remember where or when we got this blender.  It may have been a hand-me-down from a grandparent or parent downsizing.  I may have purchased it; if so, I'll guarantee it was for less than five dollars at a thrift store or rummage sale, and long enough ago to be lost in memory.  It's an off-white Hamilton Beach 14-Speed.  

Summer is awesome for fruit, so I've been on a smoothie kick.  I buy quite a bit of the "quick sale" fruit-overripe bananas, etc-then bring it home and chunk it up and freeze it.  Some combination of those, a little fresh, some yogurt and juice, and a handful of greens from the garden share (which will otherwise never be eaten and become expensive compost) go into the blender and I get breakfast.  Usually enough "breakfast" to sip on into the afternoon, since my kids turn up their noses at the greens.  

Lately, the poor blender has been struggling more and more with the frozen chunks; this morning, it bogged down under the waxy kohlrabi greens and I soon noticed the tell-tale scent of hot electrical motor.  I gave the poor thing a rest, and we'll see if it recovers, or if its time to consider buying a new countertop appliance. Who am I kidding?  I have a trip into the Cities planned.  They have lots of thrift stores...

18 March 2013

Cabin Fever

     Well, according to my School Reach message logs, today was our fourth snow day of the year.  We've also had seven late starts, one of which was immediately followed by an early out, due to windchills and road conditions.  We had one late start prior to Christmas.  The rest have been since January 21st.  Up 'til then, winter had taken its time getting here, and it was almost looking like another nearly snowless winter like last year.  Since then we've had snowstorms, blizzards, and freezing rain storms to make up for it.  In my little corner of the world, it's meant three cancelled or rescheduled speech meets and a rescheduled Knowledge Bowl tournament today.  I'm done.  I'm ready for spring.  Not so excited about the mud bog that forms in my front yard, but I'll deal with it...
     The aforementioned kitchen reno has been rethought and scaled back, but still in the works.  I did get a new bedroom door in the meantime.
     I'm fighting off a cold, and Thing 4 is on his second round of antibiotics for a double ear infection.  Poor kid.
     Grad classes are tougher this semester.  I do feel like I'm learning something, which is always a good sign.  I need to write here more though.  For fun.  And read stuff besides textbooks.  I've got a good ol' case of the winter blahs.  Yuck.

01 January 2013

Happy New Year!

Well, Happy New Year and all that.  So, what's been going on?
I found a draft of the Costa Rica trip that I promise to save and add pictures to, but not right now.  The trip was wonderful, a long weekend with family that we miss dearly, and the weather was terrific.
I came back to the usual whirlwind of school, more school and family stuff.  The elder two Things are off at college far enough to be enjoying their own lives, and close enough to come home and do laundry every so often.  Thing 1 still works for her dad every other weekend, and usually Thing 2 heads home with her, when she's not working there.  They've got an apartment right next to campus, and  Thing 2 is doing her best to fill it with cats.  
Our annual Thanksmas with my side of the family was cut a bit short with the realities of growing families and outside commitments, but we had a great time together with that gang.
I survived the fall semester of grad classes, pulling off a 3.5 gpa by a small miracle.  I feel like I actually learned stuff this semester, which is a bonus when taking classes I really never planned to need.  I am thankful to be working full time, and I am thankful that my district likes me well enough to offer me a job on a variance in a new (but related) department when I could have simply been cut.  I am feeling out of my milieu, however, and a bit overwhelmed with the requirements of a new license.
Our Christmas break has been fun, gathering with the iPastor's family and having all my own Things around.
Amid all this whirlwind, the first couple of contractors have been by to bid on our long-overdue kitchen upgrade.  We're looking at options from simple updates to entire reconstruction, and it's very very $cary, but pretty exciting as well.
I'm having a lovely sweatpants day while I get ready to reboot for heading back to the grind tomorrow  I have all the usual plans and good intentions, but I  ever-so-smugly sneer at the hackneyed idea of  New Year resolutions.  Realistically, though, with the little pause in the work and school schedule, the new year is as good a time as any for a reboot, despite the cliche.  :)